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Art on the Move: A Quartet of Gerald Mead Collection Exhibitions

Congregate by Ani Hoover
Vessel by Gail McCarthy

If you missed the major Public/Private exhibition at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University that closed in mid-August, artwork from the Gerald Mead Collection, organized under various themes, will be on view at four venues in and around Buffalo this Fall. Here’s a rundown:

The Buffalo Print Club, a group of printmakers that were active in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, is a footnote to many but common knowledge to local art collectors and academics. Led by Kevin O’Callahan and working out of the basement of the Albright Art Gallery in their early years, the Club was largely responsible for Buffalo’s significance in the national and international scene of graphic arts during this period. In fact, the Library of Congress, an institution with the largest collection of American prints in the country, has work by ten members of the Club.

The Buffalo Print Club: Works from the Gerald Mead Collection has been organized by the Jack Edson, the director of the Hamburg Public Library who has a longtime interest in the history of WNY art. The display of etchings, woodcuts, engravings and lithographs is on view at the library now through September 30. It includes work by the following fifteen members of the Club: Niels Yde Andersen, Robert Blair, Alfred Briggs, Nicholas Chaltas, Alice Gershel Hunt, Rixford Jennings, Catherine Catanzaro Koenig, James Koenig, Cooper Nott Lansing, Carlo Nisita, Kevin O’Callahan, Harold Olmsted, Julius Richter, William Schwanekamp, and Jack Stewart. This small survey, consisting of prints dating from 1931 to 1950, encompasses industrial scenes, landscapes, and abstraction. Mead will give a presentation about the works and his collection on Tuesday, September 13 at 7pm.

The Nichols School Gallery located in the Glenn and Awdry Flickinger Performing Arts Center is perhaps an under-the-radar exhibition space but the list of artists they’ve shown in solo exhibitions over the years (they mount four shows during each academic year) reads as an impressive overview of regional artists working in nearly all media. The 2011-12 season, which will feature the work of Amanda Besl, Andrea Mancuso, and Becky Koenig, was stacking up as the “Year of Women Artists,” so the school’s art committee decided to begin the season with a group exhibition titled Women Artists in Western New York: Selections from the Gerald Mead Collection. That exhibition, opening on Friday, September 9, 5-7pm and running through November 7, consists of work by 38 women artists who currently live and work in Western New York. Included are Rita Auerbach, Nancy Belfer, Patricia Carter, Marion Faller, Bonnie Gordon, Amy Greenan, Adele Henderson, Ani Hoover, Felice Koenig, Nancy Parisi, Catherine Parker, Barbara Rowe, Katie Sehr, Ellen Steinfeld, Patty Wallace, and Jacqueline Welch, among others. Since many of the artists included teach at institutions such as Daemen, Medaille, Villa Maria, Buffalo State, UB, Fredonia State, Niagara County Community College, Buffalo Seminary, and Nichols, this exhibition can easily be seen as a tribute to the collective talents of influential art mentors at all levels of academia in the region. The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Grace McKendry, a longtime art teacher at Nichols, and one of her paintings rounds out the survey.

Throughout the combined histories of the School of American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and (closer to home) the Roycroft campus and the Design programs at Buffalo State College, craft artisans have had and continue to have an enduring presence in this region. Some of them—such as Wendell Castle (wood), Albert Paley (metal), Michael Taylor (glass), and Val Cushing (clay)—have attained icon status in their respective disciplines. Western New York Craft from the Gerald Mead Collection, on view in the E. H. Butler Library at Buffalo State College October 1-30, will be an overview of work in all craft media that includes works by Castle, Paley, Taylor, and Cushing, and others such as Jozef Bajus, Nancy Belfer, Marvin Bjurlin, Nancy Jurs, Thomas Markusen, Concetta Mason, Gail McCarthy, Stephen Merritt, Barbara Murak, Sylvia Rosen, Stephen Saracino, Carol Townsend, and Robert Wood.

Finally, an “architecture buzz” seems to have permeated the region in anticipation of the arrival of the 2011 National Preservation Conference that the National Trust for Historic Preservation will be hosting here in late October, and a number of venues have scheduled exhibitions or programs to coincide with the conference. The Buffalo Niagara Visitors Center Gallery that is located in the Market Arcade will present Focus on Architecture: Works from the Gerald Mead Collection, which will open on September 16, 5:30-8pm during the Curtain Up! festivities and remain on view through October 29. The exhibition will showcase how our architectural masterworks such as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Darwin Martin House, Buffalo Psychiatric Center, Kleinhans Music Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral, and Buffalo City Hall have been depicted by regional photographers, painters and printmakers past and present including Patricia Layman Bazelon, Evan Hawkins, Biff Henrich, Lin Xia Jiang, J. J. Lankes, John Pfahl, Robert Schultz, James Vullo, and more.

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